Alleluia! Christ is risen! HE IS RISEN INDEED! Alleluia!
As we celebrate Christ's resurrection, we celebrate God's love, new life and hope for the future. Easter is the season when we exclaim that God's love is stronger than death and the power of evil. God's deep love is grounded in deep sacrifice and forgiveness. Theologian William Placher summarises what the cross can mean to us in these modern times: in Christ, God stands in solidarity with us in our suffering and reconciles us to himself by helping us re-enter the human-divine relationship, with us being aware of our wayward ways and transgressions. Lastly, God redeems us, by defeating the power that evil has over us by showing us how to return hatred with love, violence with forgiveness and lies with truth. The cross of Christ can bring about hope for a better tomorrow for ourselves and all of creation. Easter joy is all about new life and the hope that brings!
What other signs and symbols bring us hope? For many, it's the promises of God written in scripture. Here are some favourites:
Lamentations 3:22-23 - "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning".
Psalm 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble".
John 11:25-26 - "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die'."
Are there other promises of God in scripture that bring you hope?
Oftentimes signs and symbols of hope are found in nature, especially at Springtime. Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths
and lively lambs are a few of my favourite things! longer hours of daylight bring energy to my mind and spirit. Birds building nests in early spring build up my anticipation of the new life that is yet to come. Hope abounds!
Hope can be found in humanity's actions. Hope in the future can be rekindled when we take steps to renew the earth, do our bit by protecting the environment, and make choices that promote a carbon-neutral lifestyle. Hope in humanity can be renewed when we see the young taking care of the elderly, the strong helping the weak, and the wealthy sharing their resources with the poor. Hope can be restored when laws are passed which protect the rights of the marginalised and the oppressed and when people are willing to "do the right thing" rather than doing what's easiest or most convenient. All these actions can bring about new life within us and others.
We hope that some of you joined us, a hope-filled church, for Easter Sunday worship.
May your Easter celebrations be filled with hope!
Easter blessings of hope and new life,
Ben Rhydding Methodist Church is a warm and friendly place, welcoming all - believers, doubters and seekers - to share in its life. It is an outward looking church and is committed to finding creative ways to engage with and serve the community. There have been exhibitions and festivals in which local schools take part. There are regular events such as Musical afternoons and Thinking Point evenings. It is a Fair Trade church and there is a regular Fair Trade stall after the morning service on the second Sunday of the month as well as Fair Trade tea parties from time to time. On almost every Friday of the year the church offers a Soup Lunch, which is a happy social gathering for the community. In addition the church's facilities are in constant use by groups for activities such as baby massage, badminton, karate, dancing, bridge, stroke support and philosophy.
Its congregation enjoys a traditional style of worship and likes to be theologically challenged. It welcomes the opportunity for quiet and reflective worship, drawing on the beauty of the Arts and Crafts building. It is a generous community, raising money for a variety of causes including an annual charity chosen by members.
Ben Rhydding Methodist Church is committed to safeguarding
as an integral part of its life and ministry.
This means we will
promote the welfare of young children, young people and adults
work to prevent abuse from occurring
seek to protect and respond to those who have been abused
IThe church's Safeguarding Policy can be seen in the church and in the Link Hall